Shopping for Gifts, but Out of Ideas?  We asked 10 specialists to recommend presents for foodies, fitness fanatics, travelers and others.


In a world that is more global, and globalized, than ever, the gifting possibilities are endless — at least as much as supply chains allow.  To help narrow things down, we identified 10 types of gift recipients, including the art lover and the wellness devotee, and asked tastemakers in each category to offer their recommendations. Their replies were edited for clarity.  The gifts are tangible and experiential, affordable and high-priced, utilitarian and, in the finest luxury traditions, utterly unnecessary. But they all are unequivocally cool.


Michael Slenske, writer, curator and founder of the artist-run pop-up The Street & The Shop, Los Angeles

Ceramics by PapiBoyBabyBoy

The Los Angeles artists Nancy Stella Soto and Max Maslansky make these trippy, endearing ceramic objects out of their studio in the city’s Lincoln Heights neighborhood. Think platters memorializing Mike Kelley and Ellsworth Kelly, “Flowery Language” vessels adorned with words you probably wouldn’t print in a newspaper and dog bowls tattooed with their collaborative name, PapiBoyBabyBoy. Each piece is unique, handmade, affordable and a genuine conversation starter. From $100;

Noah Davis monograph

The Underground Museum is one of my favorite institutions in Los Angeles. Its founder, Mr. Davis, was one of the world’s most beguiling painters. Thanks to his wife, the great sculptor and Underground co-founder Karon Davis; former Museum of Contemporary Art curator Helen Molesworth; and David Zwirner Gallery, Noah’s paintings got a much-deserved world tour this year, which concludes at the Underground in February. The catalog is a deep dive into the life and work of an insanely ambitious and talented artist who died way too soon. $65;

Art From ECF Art Centers

The centers have been fostering the artistic talents of developmentally disabled adults in and around Los Angeles for more than 50 years. The artists who create in the five studios have shown their paintings, ceramics, drawings and prints in museums and galleries across the country. The centers do a fall sale each year that is filled with original multimedia works that benefit the Downtown Art Center Gallery. It’s a good opportunity to give back and get an original work of art from some of the city’s most prolific (if least visible) artists. From $50;


For the jewelry fan

Melanie C. Grant, editor, stylist and author of “Coveted: Art and Innovation in High Jewelry,” London

“Winged Beauty: The Butterfly Jewelry Art of Wallace Chan”

With the introduction of communism, China went into a long artistic hibernation when it came to jewelry. Then, with the recent explosion of new wealth, there has been a reawakening of jewelry appreciation. Wallace Chan, whose rare one-of-a-kind jewels often sell in the millions of dollars, has infused his work with spirituality. In this new book, for which I wrote the foreword, leading jewelry historians discuss his famous butterfly motif$38;

Opal earrings by Sheryl Jones

Ms. Jones is one of the jewelers featured in “Brilliant & Black: A Jewelry Renaissance,” an exhibition I curated for Sotheby’s earlier this fall. These one-of-a-kind drop opal earrings, above, which feature step-cut blue zircons set in 18-karat yellow gold, are a good example of why I included her work. $2,100;

Jewelry boxes by Jessica McCormack

Ms. McCormack’s jewelry boxes are bespoke and come with a personalized message, embroidery and 8,000 pounds ($10,920) worth of Jessica’s jewelry, which the client chooses. They start at £20,000, and with the Ocean box, 12 percent of the proceeds go to marine conservation in New Zealand.


For the foodie

Karishma Sakhrani, MasterChef India 4 finalist and food, style and wellness influencer, Mumbai, India

Small appliances by Smeg

Designed to stand out, Smeg’s small appliances make daily cooking more cheerful. I love the ’50s style kettle and toaster in the new matte black. They take my morning from good to great. $200 each;

Dyson V11 vacuum cleaner

There’s nothing I appreciate more than a clean kitchen. The V11 is a cord-free vacuum cleaner and sucks out the tiniest particles of dust and bacteria from every nook and corner. $600;

Vacation at the Atlantis Dubai

The hotel in Dubai has 12 restaurants that are either led by award-winning celebrity chefs (including Nobu Matsuhisa and Gordon Ramsay) or have beyond-the-ordinary concepts. Someone who loves food would LOVE to stay here and immerse themselves in a culinary extravaganza. From $580/night;


For the homebody

Mar Silver, founder, Mar Silver Design, Westport, Conn.

DaVinci360 diffuser

Scent is so powerful — when you walk into a home, it immediately sets the vibe. I recommend using a diffuser from Aroma360 because it creates a serene and tranquil environment and is the perfect hostess gift. I like the DaVinci360 model — choose a scent that matches your mood or season or buy a gift card and let your loved one develop their own scent. $600;

Alchemy sets by Crystal Cadence

Sound can help create a sacred space at home. These gorgeous alchemy sets can be built with three to seven bowls that cost from $5,000 to $10,000, depending on the alchemies, harmonics and notes that resonate with you.

“Coca-Cola Girls” series by Alex Katz

As an art collector and buyer, I know there is nothing more striking than having a spectacular work of art in your home. Mr. Katz is one of my favorite figurative artists, and his “Coca-Cola Girls” series is incredible. From $6,000;


For children

Colie LaCroix, 9, gender-fluid kid model for the children’s clothing brand Tea Collection, San Francisco Bay Area

Kiwi Crate

The Kiwi Crate is SO much fun. It helps you do so many interesting projects you normally wouldn’t think of doing. I’ve learned coding and even made my own lava lamp and robot. I also like the surprise of having it delivered to my house every month. $22.95/month;

National Geographic Geodes Kit

This geodes kit is so cool because it looks like a bunch of regular rocks on the outside, but they’re actually full of beautiful crystals. It’s super fun to smash them open and be surprised by what colors and shapes are inside. Once the rocks are open, you can put them in the light, and they look pretty. $25;

Wallshoppe wallpaper

I love being able to make my room look more fun with wallpaper, and this one is removable so I can change it whenever I want. I like how colorful it is and how bright and exciting it makes my room look. From $58/panel;


For the music aficionado

Honey Redmond, a.k.a. Honey Dijon; D.J., producer and electronic musician, Berlin

“Night Fever: Designing Club Culture 1960 — Today”

This book came out with a 2018 exhibition at the Vitra Design Museum in Weil am Rhein, Germany. It talks about the evolution of nightclubs culturally, including graphics, interior design and the music that was played. It’s an amazing global perspective on the culture of clubbing. From $288;

DJM-V10 mixer by Pioneer

If you’re serious about becoming a D.J., I’d suggest this professional mixer from Pioneer. It has also released two new multiplayers, the CDJ 3000s which professional D.J.s use in clubs. But you can also use them in home systems, if you want to become a professional-grade bedroom D.J. $3,300;

HD 25 headphones by Sennheiser

What D.J. would be complete without headphones from this German brand? These are the actual headphones I use professionally around the world, from Glastonbury to Coachella. I’m never without them because the quality is so good. $200;

For the sustainability advocate

Kate Hall, a.k.a. @ethicallykate, sustainability activist and blogger, Auckland, New Zealand

Limber Mini desk

The sustainably made dynamic desk allows you to work smarter and from anywhere, increasing your work output and improving your health. 599 New Zealand dollars ($430);

Alia saddlebag by Velvet Heartbeat

Carry your reusable cutlery set and repurposed cotton handkerchiefs in this saddlebag. It’s the only bag you’ll need. It’s made from cactus leather, so you can start conversations about ethical fashion wherever you go. 269 New Zealand dollars ($190);

“Hope Is a Verb: Six Steps to Radical Optimism When the World Seems Broken”

In times of despair, rage and frustration, grab this book by Emily Ehlers. It is the perfect gift for the burnt-out sustainability enthusiast, the proactive zero waster, or anyone who needs reminding that the future will get better. $20;


For the traveler

Leo Chan, a.k.a. @LevitateStyle, travel and style influencer, New York City

Saffiano leather travel bag by Prada

A classic carry-on duffle bag can handle everything you’ll need for a long weekend trip. It’s also lightweight and easy to store in an overhead compartment. The minimal design of Prada’s Saffiano leather travel bag gives it a timeless luxurious look. $3,750;

Noise-canceling headphones by Bose

These headphones are a must for blocking out the noise, catching up on movies in flight and relaxing at your destination. Don’t forget to pack your headphones. $379;

Louis Vuitton passport cover

The world is opening again, and my passport is ready. I love a nice leather passport cover in which to keep this essential item. Go for your favorite designer brand, and use the personalization options to add your own style and initials. $545;


For the techie

Evan Orensten and Josh Rubin, co-founders of the design, culture and technology site Cool Hunting, New York

Cell Alpha speaker by Syng

This is more than a speaker; it’s part hardware, part software and a high-tech audio product that provides an immersive experience for users whether they are listening to music, podcasts, watching TV or films or playing video games. Because of its Triphonic tech (a.k.a. three channels), the Cell Alpha floods a space with what the brand calls “smart sound.” It’s future-forward, durable and pleasing to look at — and perhaps the beginning of a sound delivery revolution. From $1,799;

Orba instrument by Artiphon

This compact, sleek and infinitely addicting new musical instrument is a hand-held synth, looper and MIDI device. It interfaces with Garage Band, Pro Tools and more for easy music making. Create a drumbeat, bass, chord and lead parts that can play from the built-in speaker, headphones or through the output into amps and speakers. Designed for professionals and enthusiasts, Orba packs a lot of power into a beautifully designed new format. $100;

Multo device by Cooking Pal

The Multo is an all-in-one cooking device that guides you through meal prep with a dedicated screen. It has over 10 different functions that include the essentials for cooking and the conveniences for meal prep. When you need to weigh what’s going into the cooker, a scale appears on the tablet; once you’ve loaded veggies to chop, the button becomes available. The range of recipes is quite diverse and cleanup is very simple. We cook at home often and were skeptical of this machine, but found it to be easy to use without compromising the deliciousness of its output. $1,000;


For the wellness devotee

Anna Bjurstam, wellness pioneer at Six Senses Hotels Resorts Spas and founding board member of the Global Wellness Summit, Stockholm

Harmony783 grounding shoes

These shoes are amazing. You can look good and connect with the earth as if you were walking barefoot. From $145;

Hyperice Hypervolt 2 Pro percussion massage device

This hand-held device is a must-have if you have any aches, do hard workouts or want to speed your recovery, increase circulation or just use it for general body optimization. I travel with it and use it when on a call or watching TV. It makes such a difference. $399;

Oura ring

This is a ring that tracks your sleep and many other biomarkers, and I have had it for some years. A new version has just been released that looks at sleep, recovery and stress and helps you to understand your sleep, but also how you should train and take on the day. $299;


Original article:

This article appeared on 19th November 2021 online and on the 20th in print.

Written by Victoria Gomelsky.




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